Oft hailed as one of the trend setting musical hearts of London and recent stomping ground of Amy Winehouse, The Libertines and er, Madness, Camden has seen musical trends come and go. But recently perhaps the greatest cultural exchange the old borough has witnessed occurred as four of the best bands in Wiltshire descend onto an unsuspecting Dublin Castle for a showcase of music, yokel style!
The venue itself is one of the grand old dames of the circuit, with a rich history of hosting up and coming bands who subsequently hit the big time. This history is ingrained into the very fabric of the place, so tangible you can smell it. Or was that just the astonishingly grim toilets? It takes some effort to be considered the worst venue toilets I have visited, but congratulations Dublin Castle!
First up were Swindon noise-pop band Super Squarecloud, who thankfully had a good selection of existing fans in the audience as their sound can sometimes be a little bit confusing to novice listeners. But the exuberant antics of singer Jo Ford soon had the place warmed up and bouncing around to their j-pop stylings. It is this where the biggest changes in the band have been; in the last year the band’s stage craft has come on in leaps and bounds, no longer are they four rather shy people hunched over instruments, now they put on a show, obviously relishing playing live. The batch of new tunes tried out fitted into seamlessly and point to even better things in the bands future.
Salisbury hip-hop act Lyrical Monsoon were the surprise of the night for me, bowling me over with their live jazz , soul and funk hip-hop hybrid. So refreshing to see a band of this style playing live, not using a DJ or backing track, it makes all the difference for a seasoned gigger like me. They had some fervent support up from Wiltshire, which helped the front rapper pairing really drive things along. Neat rhymes, great music and having something to say ensured Lyrical Monsoon were my find of the night.
Nudybronque are a band I have seen mature like fine wine or stinky cheese over the last few years, turning from indie-pop moppets into something a lot more serious, dark, complex and, well, weird – kind of like puberty I guess! The sound on their excellent EP “Moondog” initially appears too complex for a trio to recreate live, but there have been some very smart translations from studio to stage, and tonight the adding to the ranks of their producer Jon Buckett further aids the cause, especially when he steps behind the keys for “Allsorts”, his swirling notes adding so much to the already heady psychedelic mix the band create. A superb set lapped up by a very appreciative crowd, something we are coming to expect from Nudybronque.
Headliners were Salisbury’s Intercepteurs, a band who play their own brand of ska, taking the classic sound and using it to their own devices. The first thing that struck me was how much they were enjoying what they do, this exuberance rubbing off on the by now sweaty crowd (man that place needed air con) who were skanking along with the figures on stage. Whilst ska is something I can take or leave and these guys certainly don’t radically re-invent that wheel, it was a fun and energetic end to an impressively well received night.
However, when the final pint of cider had been drunk and we were all ravenous we discovered a rather unexpected issue. Why is it you can’t get anything decent to eat in Camden after midnight, barring a dirty kebab? 24hr city my backside- we made the final score Camden 0, Wiltshire 4.
Edited to hell version in The Ocelot May 2014. This is the full version!